|Garden of Kalgachia|
| Motto: Quod Superius, Sicut Inferius|
(As Above, So Below)
|Anthem: Kalgachia, Our Gratitude to You|
|Largest city||Abrek, Katarsis, Jollity, Schlepogora, Bergburg, Lithead|
|Official language(s)|| Benacian English (official)|
|- Executive||Council of Perfecti|
|- Chairman||Unconfirmed; understood to be one Xantus A.Z. Yastreb|
|- Legislature||Council of Perfecti|
|Establishment|| 143 Anno Libertatis |
(1649 AN; June 7th 2017)
|National animal|| Oreamnos Benacianus|
(Benacian mountain goat)
(mountain pit viper)
|National food|| Mutton Roast|
Goat Cheese Bliny
|National drink|| Stalemate Gin|
|National tree|| Juniperus Litovinus|
For more about Kalgachia, check out the Category - If you're just here for the literature, check out Tales from Kalgachia.
The Garden of Kalgachia is a territory located in the Octavian mountains of west-central Benacia. It was established by refugee elements of the Minarborian church during that empire's collapse, and is governed under an evolution of that church's belief system known as Ketherism. Historical processes before and during Kalgachia's emergence have made it into a multi-ethnic state whose combination of peoples, by gradual state-incentivised interbreeding, are slowly blending into a distinct ethnicity which has earned the non-scientific name Homo Kalgachiensis in jestful discourse, bureaucratic shorthand and propaganda.
Being one of Micras' few landlocked nations and almost entirely surrounded by Shireroth, with whom it has a fractious historical relationship, the Kalgachi government and wider society jealously guard their sovereignty and material self-reliance to a degree which willingly accepts the resulting economic and political hardships. Despite this, thanks in part to inheriting the greater share of Minarboria's cultural and scientific legacy, Kalgachia arguably enjoys a greater influence in certain matters of Micran diplomacy than might be considered warranted by its size and geographical isolation.
- 1 Origin
- 2 Religion
- 3 Government
- 3.1 Central Governance
- 3.1.1 The Troglodyti
- 3.1.2 The Church of Kalgachia
- 3.1.3 The Kalgachi Defence Force
- 3.1.4 The Prefects
- 3.1.5 The Directorate of Public Works
- 3.1.6 The Directorate of Labour and Economic Planning
- 3.1.7 The Directorate of Education and Outreach
- 3.1.8 The Directorate of Health and Public Welfare
- 3.1.9 The Directorate of the Tumultuous Wastes
- 3.2 Provincial Governance
- 3.1 Central Governance
- 4 Economy and Infrastructure
- 5 Academia and Technology
- 6 Society
- 7 Calendar
- 8 Notable Historic Events
With the thinning of the necromantic ley lines which kept its undead ruling caste animated, the Empire of Minarboria entered a state of progressive collapse from around 124 Anno Libertatis (early December 2016). by 140 AL (mid-May 2017) this process of aesthenic degeneration was largely complete. In the absence of central direction from the Minarborian capital Sansabury, whose leadership had succumbed to a crisis of faith (the ruling Regent was last seen slumped sullenly against the bar of the city's elite Ouroboros Club, swigging Tellian amaretto straight from the bottle and looking across the adjacent dance floor as the Deep Singer in charge of the Church of Minarbor swayed endlessly to a slow disco number while lost in the memory of better days), those inhabitants of the surrounding Imperial Shrublands who had not succumbed to energetic torpor looked to the one authority which offered some continuity of governance, namely the junior clergy of the Minarborian church whose jollity and common charity had naturally moved on a local level to fill the gap left by the collapse of the lich state. Their previous authority was, however, undermined by the despair of their congregations that the all-loving shrub Minarbor whom they had assumed an infallible god had quite evidently forsaken his faithful followers and abandoned his well-tended Garden the vicissitudes of common wilderness. In many places, clergymen were set upon and lynched by their previously-loyal bands of armed partisans who subsequently fell under the control of their own emerging warlords and were set to interminable and bloody feuding with similar groups as they competed for the unguarded spoils of the fallen Minarborian state. In time this state of affairs enveloped the once-gleaming condo districts of Sansabury itself and annihilated the last shreds of civil authority, although the soundtrack remained eerily consistent to the point that the entire corpus of 4/4 signature dance music persisted in folk memory for generations as a distasteful reminder of that fraught and desperate time.
Many Minarborian clergy, however, succeeded in demonstrating humility to their congregations with frank admissions that perhaps the shrub Minarbor was not as godly as he seemed, this denial of his omnipotence allowing them to explain that circumstances had developed beyond his control and that his gentle rustling countenance would never have meant for things to end up as they had. This precious re-consecrated fragment of the old worldview, along with the more enterprising clergy visibly throwing themselves into the material assistance of their upset congregations, offered a rare filament of hope among the general chaos of the time although these pious bands found themselves beset on all sides by other groups who had long since kicked the bloodied corpses of their own priesthood into innumerable ravines and were now only interested in territorial scrapping and oppurtunistic plunder. This imperative of self-defence, not only against against roving bandits but also the ferocious Tee-al which no longer had a Minarborian army to contain its range, gave the first breath of life to what would become the Kalgachi state as the gentler groups of benighted Minarborians networked together and gravitated toward the safe heights of the Octavian mountains whose dearth of lootable goods or population kept it from the attentions of the predatorially-inclined and offered a safe retreat, albeit one which introduced the new perils of cold and starvation in lieu of beast or bandit.
Those arriving in the southern Octavian mountains met with a group from the north - a band of mendicant clergymen and disgraced arcanists originally posted there by the Minarborian church as penance and rehabilitation for their affiliation with a revolutionary uprising in &zeter. The dominant personalities in this animated band of upstarts - believed to be led by one Xantus A.Z. Yastreb, the son of the uprising's chief agitator who had been born in a penal colony with his undead father - soon came to corral the accretion of refugee groups into a single polity. More critically they offered a new theological insight based on old, quasi-heretical strands of belief among &zeter's academic community which held that the loss of Minarboria's shrub-god and the post-human master races around him would be a deliberate act of transcendence from the material world and an invitation for those who remained to follow in their path and assume their powers. The originators of this new belief ultimately arranged for the construction of, and retreat into, a deep bunker beneath Mount Octavian itself where they could further meditate on their revelations and offer further guidance to those on the surface who clung perilously onto life. In time these renegade clergymen came to be known as the Perfecti, not so much for what they were as for what they aspired to be, and the surviving elements of what was the University of &zeter Arcane Society now became known as the Troglodyti due to their sub-surface location. For want of any wiser authority at the time, the old priests on the surface deferred to the guidance of those below as their congregations struggled to cultivate strips of sparse farmland in mountain valleys, breed sheep and goats on its upland pastures and convince themselves that theirs was a worthy enterprise ordained by the chthonic divinity they had known and loved but now seemed horribly distant. Where spiritual cause failed to sustain, the day-to-day imperatives of simple survival inevitably came to the fore, especially among those caring for children who endured literal starvation so their young could remain fed and have the strength to enjoy the occasional moment of play.
The affair might have been hopeless in the long term, were it not for the reactivation of a series of old Minarborian gold mines whose shining bounty was used to turn the neutrally-aligned bands of roving Laqi cossacks in the east, and Siyachi kossars in the west, to go among the lawless lower country whence the mountain refugees had fled and liberate the profusion of accumulated goods they had left behind in their haste to get away. While much of this went into the possession of the horsemen themselves, the delivery of reliable payment in gold persuaded them to give up a sizeable portion of their acquired bounty to the custody of the Perfecti and their nascent government, where it was turned immediately to the sustenance of the population. As time progressed these raids became more elaborate - what began as lightning attacks on bandit emcampments progressed to the assault of fortified ruins by horse-drawn artillery and the seizure of huge stocks of military hardware and industrial plant, conveyed through treacherous mountain passes on sturdy wagons along rudimentary gravel roads. The incoming stocks of organic fertiliser and heavy weapons allowed those living in the blasted heights to withstand periods of famine and renewed attack by brigands who had inevitably become attracted to the concentrated flow of goods and attempted to follow the refugee hordes into the mountains. The fugitive population were assisted with varying degrees of enthusiasm by the cowering brains of Minarborian academia, sprung from the locked cellars and secluded lodges around &zeter and other crumbling cities by raids specially tasked with hunting them down. Their combined expertise in agronomy and medicine were later considered to have spared so many lives from disease and starvation that the two fields are treated as a single discipline to this day. It was they who identified the marginally-gentler slopes their new homeland's periphery as more conducive to agriculture and essential for the sustenance of the population in the long term, as incoming supplies of looted foodstuffs tailed off. The Perfecti heeded their warning and their nascent state, having acquired the name Kalgachia through some nebulous fusion of Laqi-Ashkenatzi patois, was bidden to expand its territory across the whole Octavian Mountains.
For more, see Ketherism.
Kalgachia's belief system, Ketherism, began as an agglomeration of those eremitic and monastic sects which had been tolerated with disdain by the Minarborian church, but whose teachings gained new-found popularity in the wake of that church's collapse. Indeed the conditions of the time all but demanded that the early Kalgachis organise themselves in small fortified groups, attending to their own needs before any thoughts of the wider Garden could be considered. In time however, these monasteries - and the churches built in subjection to them - were networked together by the new Nezeni elite and formed much of the basis for the Kalgachi state.
The belief system of Kalgachia is not so much based on new revelation, as on several long-running undercurrents of Minarborealist belief that bubbled to the surface of the popular consciousness once the old church was no longer around to suppress them. While the old conception of the world as a Garden is retained by the Kalgachi, its purpose has been somewhat revised. No longer is it the goal of the faithful to expand the Garden across the physical world - now considered a waste of effort in an unsalvageably corrupted realm - instead it is to be maintained in a small but increasingly beautiful form until its inhabitants, by way of reward, are freed from their material bodies and reunited with the Garden Ketheric, a pure and unknowable plane of broadly chthonic nature whose divine spark is implanted into the hearts of all physical beings and yearns for reconciliation with its source. At the same time an opposite realm, the Wastes of Irredeemable Corruption, impel a negative force to dampen and obstruct the divine spark of the Garden Ketheric and prevent enterprising souls from escaping the physical world.
The Kalgachi Church holds that the entire physical universe is a manifestation of the tainted contact point between the Garden Ketheric and the Wastes of Irredeemable Corruption, initiated from the latter in an attempt to consume the former. That boundary is itself divided into the Garden Physical - that is, the Garden of Kalgachia and certain places considered to align with its cause - and the Tumultuous Wastes, comprised of the entire physical universe outside the Garden Physical. The salvation of humanity is said to be achieved by first gaining admittance into the Garden Physical, then enhancing its beauty and virtue to such heights that its inhabitants are admitted to the Garden Ketheric en masse - an eschatological event which forever consigns the inhabitants of the Tumultuous Wastes to the Wastes of Irrdeemable Corruption, forces the collided realms apart and entails the end of the physical world itself.
Unusually among world religions, the closest physical proximity to the Garden Ketheric is considered to be underground rather than in the heavens, the latter being considered a realm of great evil with a reputation for spawning all manner of archonic police actions from apocalyptic meteor showers to orbital kinetic weapons wielded by powerful nation states.
The Kalgachi Church does not hold absolute import in the existence of gods, although material or aetheric beings considered to contain especially high concentrations of the Garden Ketheric's divine spark are freely recognised as deities of a sort. The all-time record for the most divine being is considered to be the Shrub-God Minarbor, from whom the Empire of Minarboria was named - but unlike the Minarborians who considered Him to be Shrub-God above all, the Church of Kalgachia proclaims the possibility of Minarbor's divinity being equalled or surpassed by some other being in the future. Posthuman authority figures of Minarborian history such as the Empress Lyssansa, Fleurette the Thoughtseeker and Lord Toastypops also enjoy quasi-divine status in Ketherism through their appellation as 'Salvators'.
Supreme power in Kalgachia is vested in the Council of Perfecti, who tend to remain in their sanctified underground homes to prevent themselves being corrupted by the distractions of the world above. On the rare occasions they do surface, it is in holy locations and often in disguise. Each of the Perfecti holds a ministerial brief, exercised through the following institutions:
The Troglodyti are an occult order of late Minarborian provenance who tend to operate out of the public eye - most often physically underground - in accordance with their own norms, customs and rituals. The Troglodyti lack a leadership in the commonly-understood sense; their seat on the Council of Perfecti is merely representative, although said represantative traditionally chairs that council and enjoys the nominal role of Kalgachi head of state. This privilege, and the fact that the Troglodyti are permitted direct and autonomous control of all Kalgachi territory more than five kilometres below ground, suggest that the their influence in public life is so silently pervasive as to be ubiquitous. According to the supreme law of Kalgachia, the Oktavyan Code, the official brief of the Troglodyti is "the esoteric salvation of the Kalgachi people" although how they go about this task is not well understood beyond their inner membership.
The Church of Kalgachia
The Church of Kalgachia is the official state church and the most powerful public influence on Kalgachi society, tasked with maintaining Kalgachia's spiritual rigour through a wide network of monasteries and their subject churches. The institutions also serve as nodes of provincial government in which the Church wields immense power, although this is generally seperated from its spiritual offices by a cadre of proctors to whom administrative functions are delegated. The Church is also tasked with the training and arming of partisans from their congregation as a precaution against armed invasion. In peacetime these partisans, numbering around 4.5 million, effectively constitute the Church's paramilitary wing. The Church's moral clout, administrative power and armed strength empowers it to act as a police force and judiciary on a local level.
The Church keeps its immense power in check by retaining of many aspects of the old Minarborian liturgy and doctrine - for those within and without the institution it emphasises jollity, politeness and charity as the chief weapons against the archonic cynicism which rages beyond Kalgachia's borders.
The Kalgachi Defence Force
For more, see the Military of Kalgachia.
The Kalgachi Defence Force (KDF) are Kalgachia's professional military, born from a migrant officer corps and huge amounts of military hardware recovered from the collapse of Minarboria. KDF doctrine is built around the utilisation of Klagachia's rugged topography to frustrate an invading power; they specialise in mountain warfare with a rhizomic command and supply network composed of numerous underground barracks and arms caches, operating with a high degree of independence from their command to stealthily traverse normally impassable terrain and deny an invading force the ability to establish a functional zone of occupation. The KDF's unit composition reflects this, with most support elements being integrated at the company level under the general expectation that command, communications and logistics at higher levels will be severely disrupted or knocked out entirely in the opening hours of a major war, requiring even the most junior commanders to fend for themselves.
In addition to its mainstay infantry and equine reconnaissance units, the KDF employs a relatively advanced air defence and electronic warfare capability for a nation of its size, to frustrate the efforts of enemies whose doctrine is overly dependent on concepts of full-spectrum dominance. The KDF also integrates clergy from the Church of Kalgachia in a broad psychological warfare role, to maintain the ideological integrity of the KDF's own ranks and that of the civilian population in its areas of operation.
The Prefects (not to be confused with the Perfecti) are Kalgachia's internal security service, with unlimited powers to counter the subversion of the Perfecti's authority by native traitors or foreign agents. Their most visible presence is at Kalgachia's outer frontier, which they are tasked with controlling. Although the Prefects' recruitment process is a mystery, new entrants are understood to begin their careers as uniformed border guards before progressing to more occluded offices, chiefly concerned with absorbing information through a wide network of operatives and informants before taking any necessary covert actions, which often involves the target of their attentions simply disappearing into thin air. Individuals too publically visible to be summarily disposed of are, if their defiance of the authority is severe, subjected to court proceedings under the nominal supervision of the Church of Kalgachia which inevitably confers a sentence removing them forever from public view. Public figures caught in less-seditious acts are generally dismissed from any sensitive position they may hold before being systematically pilloried by the Kalgachi media complex to liquidate their credibility, then subjected to certain travel restrictions to prevent their communication with or defection to foreign powers. More often than not, disgraced public figures are made to disappear entirely once the memory of them has faded from public discourse.
Perhaps the most important role of the Prefects is to act as a regulatory central counterweight to the power of the Church, whose junior clergy are occasionally corrupted by the immense power conferred on them and require intervention from an independent authority.
The Directorate of Public Works
The Directorate of Public Works (DPW) is responsible for Kalgachia's civil infrastructure, much of which is located entirely underground beneath thick mountain granite. As a result the DPW have come to specialise in tunnel boring, ventilation and geothermal power. The Directorate is fully remitted to maintain and operate its more vital creations such as the transport network, power grid and telephone system.
The DPW has been committed to a hideously resource-intensive capital construction project of one kind or another for Kalgachia's entire history, causing it to operate in a constant state of marginal overstretch. Chief among such projects have been:
- Deep-level central governance and military command rhizomes (145-147 AL)
- Deep-level factory spaces for strategic industries. (147-150 AL)
- Three underground railways linking the cities of Katarsis, Jollity and Bergburg in a triangle (150-154 AL)
- A constellation of 132 mountain fortresses for the Kalgachi Defence Force (154-166 AL)
- Mid-lithosphere excavations and infrastructure installation in support of Project Newrad (166 AL-present)
The Directorate's consistently heavy workload has made it one of the more generous employers of the Kalgachi state in terms of wages/overtime and salary/bonuses, but also suffers the second-lowest life expectancy of any sector in the Kalgachi workforce behind KDF troops on Tee-al containment duty.
The Directorate of Labour and Economic Planning
For more, see the Economy of Kalgachia.
The Directorate of Labour and Economic Planning (DLEP) played a critical role in Kalgachia's early history, organising an influx of migrants and goods caravans into a coherent labour force and manufacturing complex which established the rudiments of a social safety net and spared those early settlers from a premature death by starvation or exposure. In the modern day the DLEP operates Kalgachia's strategic industries such as raw material extraction, electronics, armaments and heavy manufacturing - these being generally located in deep-level underground facilities to protect their production in wartime. Industries with a military application have a wholly DLEP-controlled supply chain, with other industries tending to obtain their supplies from Church-owned enterprises.
The DLEP maintains a standing Labour Corps to assist other organs of state in special projects or emergency relief efforts. The Labour Corps is commonly seen as the last-ditch employment option in Kalgachia, with much of its membership being composed of small-time criminals supplied under sentence from the Church of Kalgachia's innumerable Parish tribunals. Wayward labourers do however have the oppurtunity to advance themselves into the Corps' cadre of skilled labourers and foremen, whose trades are marginally more respectable and afford them the skills to provide their services privately after leaving the Corps.
The DLEP also oversees the operations of the Reserve Bank of Kalgachia, minters of the Kalgarrand.
The Directorate of Education and Outreach
For more, see the Media of Kalgachia.
The Directorate of Education and Outreach (DEO) oversees Kalgachia's education system, cultural initiatives, research and development capability, statistics collection and mass media. Freedom of thought is encouraged within the DEO, although its services to the general population are coordinated with other organs of state to keep its output "on message" and its ranks are thoroughly infiltrated by said organs to ensure the containment of sensitive information to those minds capable of working sensibly with it.
The Pedagogue General's Office of the DEO is also responsible for running the children's camp known as the Urchagin.
The Directorate of Health and Public Welfare
The Directorate of Health and Public Welfare (DHPW) is responsible for its Kalgachia's healthcare provision and - notably - the agriculture and food supply chain, this latter element being considered of existential rather than commercial importance due to Kalgachia's limited reserves of arable land and pasture. Along with the DLEP the hard pressed doctors, agronomists and dietitians of the DHPW did much to prevent Kalgachia's early migration flows from turning into a sewer of famine and disease.
Although much of the advanced bio-engineering capability enjoyed by Minarboria was lost after that empire's collapse, the DHPW have retained certain strands of the old expertise such as life-extending telomerase therapy and almost-limitless abilities in transfusion and transplantation - albeit within the bounds of the humanoid anatomy, the previous effortless incorporation of donor material as genetically distant as the insecta being little more than a distant memory.
Rumours of a DHPW facility maintaining live samples from Minarboria's advanced bio-weapons programme under the pretext of 'civilian research' have been consistently denied.
The Directorate of the Tumultuous Wastes
The Directorate of the Tumultuous Wastes (DTW) is Kalgachia's most junior organ of state, concerned with foreign relations. Like its old Minarborian counterpart, the Third State Arbor, the DTW is essentially a purgatory for inexperienced or disgraced civil servants who are tasked with the unpleasant job of interacting with foreign powers as a form of initiation and/or punishment. This also has the benefit of flushing out the less reliable bureaucrats by incentivising them to 'go native' in foreign climes long before they have been promoted to more sensitive positions in the Kalgachi state. Because of this, however, the ranks of the DTW enjoy a certain special cameraderie and a relative absence of bloated egos which allows its work to be carried out with a high degree of efficiency. Those excelling in its analytical and intelligence offices can expect rapid promotion out of the DTW to better things.
Kalgachi foreign policy is predictably dominated by the glowering spectre of Shireroth which occupies most of Kalgachia's geographical vicinity and, notwithstanding certain bouts of regional unrest and adminstrative difficulty, is projected to extend its control in the south and occupy the entire circumference of the Kalgachi frontier no later than the year 300 Anno Libertatis. Kalgachia's relations with Shireroth broadly mirror those of the Minarborian era, oscillating between sober transactional realpolitik and bouts of ideological invective-slinging backed by military posturing. Relations have been strained by the ascent of the famously-histrionic House of Ayreon-Kalirion to the halls of Shireithian power, sponsored by a military-industrial complex whose prevailing ideology considers Kalgachia to owe Shireroth severe penance for the actions of its Minarborian predecessor state, namely the flight of a large part of Southern Benacia's population from Shirerithian jurisdiction and their tolerance of undead and modified humanity to the point of freeing such beings from the uncanny valley of international perception and clearing the way for them to become legitimised on a global scale. This worldview clashes not inconsiderably with Kalgachi perception of Shireroth as the primary memetic vector for an alien demiurge to force its hegemonic will upon the sovereign peoples of Micras yet conspicuously fail to reward its collaborators with any reliable protection against the ensuing chaos. Diplomats on each side have been careful to downplay the characterisation of the other as the world's primary existential evil in direct discourse, although relations with third parties and the media output of both countries have shown little in the way of restraint. Relations between the military forces of both countries remain tolerably cordial, however, partly for the sake of operational discipline and partly for a mutual distrust of Stormark and its Froyalanish disapora, the latter's toppling from power in Shireroth being assisted by both Shirerithian and Kalgachi military forces and continuing to inspire fond memories and jolly anecdotes at deconfliction meetings of the Sxiro-Kalgachi Military Coordination Council.
Overseas, Kalgachia has cultivated a near-alliance with the Kingdom of Nova England, principally to provide it with military aid against Shirerithian ambitions in the region but also for Kalgachia to trade with the USSO Common Market via the Octavian Import-Export Corporation.
Since purchasing a fleet of transport aircraft and sending humanitarian aid shipments during the War of Lost Brothers, Kalgachia has followed Minarboria's legacy in maintaining a cordial relationship with Jingdao. Whether this will entail the commencement of relations with the Haifo-Pallisican Imperial Trade Union via the Bassarid Federation remains to be seen.
The area of reponsibility between the Perfecti and the Church is delegated to the Lords Lieutenant, of which there is one for each of Kalgachia's eight Lieutenancies. The Lords Lieutenant, coordinating their work through the Lord Lieutenant's Council, are the most senior government officials to appear in public, often making speeches and announcing policy on behalf of the Perfecti. This alone gives them considerable powers to interpret and apply the Perfecti's will in their respective Lieutenancies, although in reality this power is limited by the double scrutiny of the Perfecti's omnipresent informants and that of the Church whose acquiescence is essential to implement policy on the ground.
The Lieutenancies of Kalgachia are divided into Marches, administered by the Church of Kalgachia from monasteries. These in turn are divided into Parishes, administered from churches. The Abbots of the Marches and Credents of the Parishes, through their subordinate Proctors, wield considerable power on a local level to the extent that they can effect extrajudicial property seizure or summary executions, although consistently heavy-handed church clerics run the risk of their actions drawing the attention of the Church or the Prefects and backfiring catastrophically.
The Lieutenancy of Lapivril is a special case - it being entirely underground, administered by the Troglodyti and divided into Strata and Nodules instead of Marches and Parishes. The protocols and workings of Lapivril's administration remain mysterious, as to the location of its interfaces with the surface Lieutenancies and the identity and role of those authorised to enter it.
Economy and Infrastructure
For more, see the Economy of Kalgachia.
Early attempts to emulate Minarboria's non-monetary command economy were found to be inefficient in the face of Kalgachia's modest resource base, and the availability of one particular resource - namely gold - caused it to rapidly emerge as an informal means of exchange among the population which the Perfecti found necessary to formalise and regulate, before the emergence of a capital-hoarding class and the runaway skimmage of surplus labour value sucked the Kalgachi economy dry. What resulted was essentially a form of state capitalism, wherein private enterprise is freely permitted but trades primarily against the ubiquitous wealth of the Kalgachi state, the greater part of which is concentrated in the Church and its monasteries.
Kalgachia's unit of currency, the Kalgarrand, consists of one troy ounce (31.1g) of pure gold. Due to their considerable value, whole Kalgarrands are rarely seen in everyday use and most coinage is adulterated with base metals into everyday denominations.
The mountainous terrain of Kalgachia is not especially conducive to agriculture, and the few pockets of suitable farmland in the lower hill country of its fringes are heavily cultivated. Countermeasures against soil depletion are one of the more frenetic occupations of Kalgachia's small academic community. The husbandry of sheep and goats is more widespread, the animals being well suited to Kalgachia's profusion of scattered highland pastures. Kalgachia's geography has allowed mining and quarrying to flourish although it has conversely made exports problematic, bordering on the impossible - to reach the high seas and the global market place, Kalgachi goods must either transit through the ungoverned ex-Minarborian territory with all its attendant perils, or else be conveyed through Shireroth which is free to impose any such restriction or condition upon such passage as it sees fit. Before the War of Lost Brothers the majority of Kalgachia's foreign trade was with Shireroth itself, mainly in the form of contractually-obliged Froyalanish labourers imported in exchange for outgoing Kalgarrands and surplus items of ex-Minarborian industrial plant. In latter times, the release of the Froyalanish from bondage and various geopolitical considerations have compelled a rerouting of most Kalgachi exports through the Octavian Import-Export Corporation in Nova England.
Kalgachia's roads are few, and its railways fewer. The latter tend to exist in the form of light subway systems beneath large towns and cities, connecting the more substantial buildings which are constructed with basement floors equalling or exceeding the surface structure. The rail subways, and their attendant walkways, also connect premises which are located entirely underground. An established Kalgachi settlement viewed from the surface therefore represents only around half - or even less - of what actually exists. In some of the more inhospitable mountain areas, whole villages are carved beneath the local granite and are accessed from what appears to be a single cottage.
Academia and Technology
Kalgachia has a small but capable population of scientists and engineers, trained by cadres from the Minarborian university city of &zeter who were caught up in the first great migration to the mountains. As a result, certain advances in Minarborian technology such as biodiesel propulsion, resilient electronics and rocketry have been preserved in Kalgachia. With the Nezeni migration came similarly advanced skills in underground construction and medicine. These two skillbases have combined to prioritise the location of Kalgachia's most important state and industrial assets in the deepest underground venues, each rated to withstand attack by an orbitally-delivered kinetic penetrator bearing a nuclear warhead in the multi-megaton range. Being hideously resource-intensive to construct, such strategic facilities are relatively few in number, with their ancillary entities located somewhat nearer the surface layer if not on the surface itself.
In recent times, much of Kalgachia's scientific development has pivoted from the development of military technology to the synthesis of life-essential material from Kalgachia's sub-surface geology, with the goal of enabling the underground Lieutenancy of Lapivril to attain a self-sufficiency and independence from the surface world of an extent unseen since the People's Republic of Hell. While the extraction of limitless geothermal power from the mid-Benacian tectonic fault and the production of ultraviolet lighting to mimic the absent rays of Atos have long since been within Kalgachi capability, the synthesis of life-essential hydrates and nitrates from geological strata in which they are absent had long eluded Kalgachi scientists until one Dr. Eager Churchytopp of the University of Bergburg devised a series of processes utilising alpha particles from abundant sources of Radium-226 in the local granite to free neutrons from carbon and effect reliable, in-situ nuclear transmutation of other substances with relatively small and mass-producable reactor apparatus (Churchytopp's work on the unchained fission of light nuclei, particularly the Silicon-28 > Nitrogen-14 process, earned him a rare summons to be congratulated by the Council of Perfecti themselves. As often happens with scientists who attain strategic importance, the accolade subsequently burdened him with lifelong restrictions on freedom of movement and 24-hour surveillance by the Prefects). This, in combination with the developments in the extraction of magmatic hydrogen from deep thermal vents, caused the existence of the Lieutenancy of Lapivril to be acknowledged officially and codified in law, such that the techologies proven could claim a wider share of Kalgachia's resource base.
Kalgachia's geography, and the historical migrations that have taken place upon it, have made it the meeting point of many Benacian ethnicities:
The Lywallers are descended from migrants from the Minarborian province of Lywall, who themselves migrated from the Shirerithian province of Lywind. They are characterised by a short stocky build, an indefatigable jollity and the casual incorporation of a simple, animatedly childlike language into their daily affairs, lending the atmosphere of a kindergarten to even the most formal situations. This is often mistaken for flippancy or intellectual disability, generally to the misfortune of the uninitiated as Lywallers give no warning of their capability to act with a resolute severity, beyond mild suggestions of being "really quite cross" or "all in a tizzy" before suddenly making their move.
Having been a favoured class in Minarboria and still celebrating their ancient association with its undead Empress, the Lywallers retain a residual degree of social advantage and can be found throughout Kalgachia, although they are mainly concentrated around the Lieutenancies of Oktavyan, Katarsis and Jollity.
The Laqi are an inexplicably persistent community in Southern Benacia, originating in the ill-fated Laqi Free Republic with a sizeable diaspora migrating to eastern Ashkenatza. Although these polities have long since been swept into the chop yard of history, the Laqi have remained a coherent body of people with a consistent presence in Benacian public life to this day. The Laqi practice a social conservatism verging on tribal backwardness, although their nomadic past has imbued them with an innate wanderlust and a tendency to play as hard as they work. Their reputation as brigands and hard drinkers is mostly deserved, with the comprehensive plunder of Minarboria's fallen Shrublands by their rampaging cossack bands being instrumental to the foundation of Kalgachia as a viable sovereign state. Their most fearless sons continue to be utilised conducting black operations for the Kalgachi military.
Kalgachia's Laqi are mostly concentrated in the Lieutenancies of Schlepogora and Abrek, where they inevitably find vodka-swilling kindred spirits across the border in Shireritihian Mishalan.
The Nezeni are the descendants of the genetically-modified caste of Minarboria - and southern Shireroth before that - known as the Deep Singers. The Nezeni are no longer subject to their ancestors' constraints of selective reproduction, the absence of which is causing their progressive homogenesis within the wider unmodified population through unregulated interbreeding. Although the extra limbs, tentacles and more insectoid modifications of the past are rarely seen, modern Nezenis remain easily identifiable by their silver, blue or green complexion and lizardlike eyes.
As in Minarboria, the Nezeni exert a great influence over the Kalgachi church and by extension the state, most notably in the Council of Perfecti itself which is mainly composed of their kind. The horticultural holism of their ancient belief system, although less viscerally intense than they imposed on Minarboria, remains an important strand of Kalgachi philosophy and theology.
The Nezeni can mainly be found in the Lieutenancy of Lithead, which composed the northern part of their Minarborian heartland and remains chock full of hazardous flora and fauna. Remaining functional - or indeed alive - in Lithead for any length of time requires an adherence to the various strands of Nezeni folk tradition which have allowed them, and them alone, to thrive in the biome their ancestors created.
The Siyacho-Ashkenatzi, or Bergburgers as they are known in Kalgachia, originated in the Ashkenatzan provinces of Volhyria and Porolia. After the collapse of that state and a few intervening centuries of anarchic Kossar warlordery, the area was annexed by Minarboria and the tribal Kohanim of the local people were installed as the basis of a theocratic Shophate known as Siyachia, answering nominally to the Minarborian Empress. After Minarboria's collapse, the mountainous east of Siyachia was annexed by Kalgachia and saw an influx of migrants from the west seeking new oppurtunities in the nascent state. They coalesced around the mountain town of Bergburg, which quickly became the locus of their efforts and lent its name to the surrounding Lieutenancy.
Bergburgers remain mostly concentrated around Bergburg, although a large community of them exists in Oktavyan where they form a disproportionately high number of staff at the Directorate of Labour and Economic Planning and the Directorate of Education and Outreach. As a community they practise a certain insularity, soaked into them by a centuries-long feedback loop of defensively intensifying religious custom and persecution by ignorant goyim. This body of ancient tradition, originally developed to glorify the original god of the Bergburgers' ancestors, has now accumulated in cultural weight to become an end in itself and survived no less then two full transitions into different belief systems, successfully securing the necessary concessions from their adopted churches to continue observing the ancient mitzvot.
Kalgachia's Mishalanski community arrived as refugees from their original homeland during the zenith of Froyalanish rule in Shirerithian Elwynn, which saw them stripped of their collective property and subjected to mass land clearances in favour of Storish commercial interests with any objectors being subject to arbitrary arrest and imprisonment. While Kalgachia accepted them on the condition that they eventually return to Mishalan under the auspices of the Konkordskaya Bratva, some found Kalgachi life to their liking and remained in the Lieutenancies of Schlepogora and Abrek where they form a minority alongside the predominant Laqi. The Mishalanski have a disproportionately high representation among the church partisans of those territories and adhere to an ergatocratic nationalism similar to that practised by the Konkordskaya Bratva, albeit with the old allusions to proletarian liberation framed in increasingly gnostic terms by persuasive immersion in the rites of the Kalgachi church.
The Froyalanish were introduced to Kalgachia after their fall from grace in Shireroth in 150 AL, first as refugees fleeing Shirerithian reprisals and later as imports from Shireroth itself; in both cases they were bound into the status of Community Service Workers until their emancipation in 161 AL, before which they formed a class of unpaid menial workers similar to the undead 'zombots' of Minarboria. Their service ranged from arduous, often fatal manual labour to more sedate work as office clerks and domestic servants, these roles broadly determined by the difference in physical brawn inherent between the male and female genders.
Since their emancipation from outright bondage, the Froyalanish nonetheless remain subject to compulsory sterilisation and a prohibition of their ancestors' Vanic religion, the preaching or practice of which is a capital crime in Kalgachia. This ensures that their inherited tendency to culturally and demographically displace those societies with whom they come into contact is prevented from occurring in Kalgachia; indeed the inability of Kalgachi Froyalaners to reproduce is projected to cause a collapse in their population toward the minority numbers of their arch-enemies, the Mishalanski, by 200 AL - further degrading to the level of statistical negligibility by 250 AL.
As they age, Kalgachia's Froyalaners are expected to progress from overwhelmingly manual roles to lower-tier administrative and service positions, aided by their marginally-increased social respectability and the receipt of a minimum wage.
While not occurring as quickly as the church and state would wish, the inevitable interbreeding of Kalgachia's population groups has given rise to a unique Kalgachi ethnicity, residing chiefly along Kalgachia's rugged central belt and the major cities around it. While those of combined Kalgachi blood are spoken of in exalted terms by the official media - especially the 'Urchagin Generation' who are too young to remember the time before Kalgachia's foundation - the exact attributes of the ethnic Kalgachi are subject to some debate. Theoretically a Kalgachi carrying blood from all of the country's ethnic groups would be dark haired in appearance, owing to the overwhelming proportion of their genome originating from the swarthy folk of subtropical south-east Benacia and the Yardistani Isles. The biomantic legacy of the Deep Singers and their Nezeni descendants leaves many ethnic Kalgachis with a very slight greenish, bluish or iridescent skin hue, accompanied by a glossy sheen which is often mistaken for a sign of illness.
The customs and personality traits of the ethnic Kalgachi are said to vary according to their specific mixture, although they have acquired a reputation for a robust, almost obsessive work ethic. This is partially due to pressure by the media - eager to prove the superiority of homo kalgachiensis against each of its ancestor races - although the precepts of gnostic self-reliance drummed into them by the Church since early childhood also play a substantial part. Ethnic Kalgachis can often be seen conducting volunteer work or putting in gratuitous amounts of overtime, sometimes in conditions as unsavoury as those of the Froyalanish. In the more ideologically-ambitious quarters of church and state, the ascent of a uniquely Kalgachi ethnic group is especially welcomed as being free of lingering shrub-infatuation or other old-hat Minarborealist conceits, unlike the Lywallers or the Nezeni. While the ethnic Kalgachi enjoy some social advantages as a result, they are also perceived to be lacking in critical thinking and overly content to regurgitate the official media's exact line on any given subject without any personal meditation, such blind obedience arguably reducing them to mere scions of an archonic despotism and subverting the entire concept of Ketherist manumission. While the reality of ethnic Kalgachis' perception of the world is rarely so blinkered as the stereotype suggests, they have commonly been observed to nurture a fascination with societies built around self-annihilating submissiveness such as Jingdao.
Kalgachia uses the Anno Libertatis calendar, which is a slowing of the Minarborian Anno Fruticis calendar by a factor of ten (with 1450 AF rendered as 145 AL, for example) to mitigate issues of temporal haemorrhaging when converting with the Anno Nortone count used by most of the larger Micran powers. Like the Minarborian Anno Fruticis calendar, the Anno Libertatis calendar takes the emergence of the Shrub-God Minarbor (July 8th, 2013 on the Earth calendar) as its start point, and retains the old calendar's treatment of this point as the zeroth year rather than the first.
The seperate but parallel Minarborian calendar - by which days, weeks and months are counted at broadly the same rate as their Earth equivalents - has been adopted in Kalgachia wholesale, with a five day week consisting of:
A given date will always fall on a given day of the week, as said week is synchronised to a pattern of months as follows:
Winterise (30 days - 22 Dec to 20 Jan) starting on a Helloday
Winterhigh (30 days - 21 Jan to to 19 Feb) starting on a Helloday
Winterfall (29 days - 20 Feb to 20 Mar) starting on a Helloday
Springrise (31 days - 21 Mar to 20 Apr) starting on a Byeday
Springhigh (31 days - 21 Apr to 21 May) starting on a Helloday
Springfall (31 days - 22 May to 21 Jun) starting on a Pleaseday
Summerise (31 days - 22 Jun to 22 Jul) starting on a Rustleday
Summerhigh (31 days - 23 Jul to 22 Aug) starting on a Thanksday
Summerfall (31 days - 23 Aug to 22 Sep) starting on a Byeday
Harvestrise (30 days - 23 Sep to 22 Oct) starting on a Helloday
Harvesthigh (30 days - 23 Oct to 21 Nov) starting on a Helloday
Harvestfall (30 days - 22 Nov to 21 Dec) starting on a Helloday
Earth's leap day of February 29th is rendered specially as Shudderday, 9½ Winterfall.
In full, a date such as Sunday July 2nd, 2017 would equate to Rustleday Summerise 11th, 145 AL.
Notable Historic Events
The Auspicious Occasion
The rapacity of Shireroth in seeking to encircle Kalgachia with territorial claims to parts of the Minarborian Shrublands, in the earliest days of in Kalgachia's life, caused much concern in Oktavyan and was ascribed to the land-hungry lobbying of the Froyalanish King of Elwynn, whose territorial excesses were causing just as many problems inside Shireroth. His attempt to eradicate the Soviet society of Shirerithian Mishalan and obtain more living space for his own Froyalanish race, despite already holding more land than they could possibly ever utilise, caused a level of upset in Shireroth which aroused much sympathy in Kalgachia, perilously close as it was to the frontier of Froyalanish lands and having to fight off incursions by their wandering Vanic priesthood on a daily basis. At the highest level, the decision was taken to support the budding rebellion in Mishalan with the faint hope that it might be the first step in the rollback and eventual expulsion of the Froyalanic juggernaut from the Benacian contient, many lifetimes hence. In 149 AL (1651 AN), a cossack officer of the Kalgachi Defence Force, one colonel Vitaly Shumyanov, was duly detailed to raise a force of partisans and bear cavalry from the Mishalanski refugees who had fled the King of Elwynn's purges in Mishalan and sought sanctuary in Kalgachia. These he held in preparation until the Shirerithian government, on the back of overwhelming support from its legislature and executive, decreed the expulsion of Mishalan's Froyalanish administration. In concert with sympathetic elements of Shireroth's army and Mishalan's provisional government who did not wish to be associated directly with any resulting atrocities, Shumyanov's force - known as the Konkordskaya Bratva - were released into Mishalan near the city of Niü Veña where they set the pace for their Mishalanski brethren by ejecting the newly-arrived Froyalansh landlords from their homes and herding them into their equally-new Vanic temples where the whole lot could be burned to ashes, with any escapees promptly hunted down and devoured by cavalry bears which were specially trained to seek out the Froyalanites' characteristic scent of excited genitalia and Storish mead. These acts of vigorous ethnic restitution, and the many others which it inspired, reached their climax when the Froyalanish King of Elwynn himself was deposed in a manner more rapid and comprehensive than most of his detractors ever dared to dream, spelling the effective end of Froyalanish dominion over Benacia.
The Enclosure of the Limitrophes
The auspicious year of 149 AL also saw the inclusion of Jollity, Schlepogora, Bergburg and Lithead into Kalgachia. These territories had become so infused with Minarborian refugee camps and prowling Kalgachi military patrols that Kalgachia's annexation of the territory was, in the end, a formality - albeit a badly needed one to improve the situation of the hopeless migrants by providing them with food, accomodation and work in an organised fashion. The labour force for the development of these territories being already in situ, the improvement of both the new territories and the Kalgachi core was as rapid as might be expected from an overnight doubling of the Kalgachi population. However the event did present obstacles to the Perfecti's ideal of homogenising Kalgachia's different ethnic groups into a single indigenous race in order to prevent any one of them being leveraged against them by foreign powers - the newer half of the population, enjoying a sudden freedom of movement in Kalgachia, gravitated naturally to their own kind and gave each of the new Lieutenancies a distinct ethnic identity.
Blood, Gold and Urchagintsy
Beginning around 158 AL, the first generation of young adults too young to remember the pre-Kalgachi era reached the age of majority. Compared to their ancestors, this generation - dubbed the Urchagintsy due to their participation in the Urchagin - showed a greater readiness to engage in inter-ethnic relationships and marriages, with some already being of mixed heritage themselves. To the quiet concern of the Nezeni who had been Kalgachia's most socially venerated race since the late Minarborian era, this new generation of truly native Kalgachis began to fill the lower echelons of church and state, bringing with them many subtle changes of custom and doctrine which began to dilute the social and political influence of their their ex-Minarborian immigrant elders and finalise the emergence of Kalgachia from the leafy shade of its Minarborian predecessor, allowing it to stand as a self-respecting nation in its own right with its own history and its own priorities.
Abroad, the War of Lost Brothers escalated to involve most of Micras' great powers and re-ignite the Sxiro-Jingdaoese Confrontation to an unprecedentedly bloody level. For Kalgachia this presented the difficulty of cultivating the interests of Jingdao, whose role in a multipolar Benacia it wished to cultivate, while avoiding the wrath of Shireroth which until the reversals of Operation Bait Harvest had been engaged in an unapologetic crusade for dominion of the entire continent. Building upon the Slavegate Treaty of Peace and Civility in 157 AL, a tacit understanding was reached with both parties whereby Kalgachi assistance to the Jingdaoese would be limited to humanitarian aid and economic co-operation in return for the territorial integrity of Kalgachia remaining unmolested by Shireroth. Ironically, rather than being regarded as a tight-fisted coward and a continental traitor by Jingdao and Shireroth respectively, Kalgachia was instead called upon by both warring empires as a useful intermediary, being one of the few nations on Micras whose non-alignment with established power blocs gave it cordial relations with both at the same time.
During this time the Kalgachi economy enjoyed the benefits of a rationalisation in the gold mining sector, providing a ready supply of reliable currency to purchase imports from abroad. This stockpiling of bullion, and the Kalgarrand into which it was minted, was profuse at first - but in the interests of maintaining a stable exchange rate the Reserve Bank of Kalgachia, a subsidiary of the Directorate of Labour and Economic Planning, announced a programme of progressive reductions in gold production after 160 AL toward the minimum level required to maintain existing stockpiles and service foreign debt.
The Nova English Missile Crisis
In 159 AL, with the Brettish Isles suffering from the disastrous effects of a major volcanic eruption, The Imperial Republic of Shireroth decided to exploit the resulting humanitarian disaster and breakdown in governance by commissioning privateers to set upon and plunder the maritime aid shipments of various USSO nations attempting to assist the stricken Brettish - as well as enslaving individuals captured in the process, stripping Brettish waters of fish stocks and making a direct foray into the territorial waters of Nova England. This lunge at Eastern Keltia, culminating in the Cruise of the Medusa, marked an important shift in the perception of Shireroth by the Kalgachi government which had hitherto tolerated the antics of its bloated neighbour as a necessary moderator of Jingdaoese and Storish excesses on the global stage. Now, however, Shireroth appeared to dispense with any pretext of moral mission - beyond the contentious assertion that conflict with a single USSO state made all USSO assets a legitimate prize of war - and indulge in an orgy of rank savagery upon the high seas in the assured confidence that it was too powerful incur anything in the way of negative consequences from such behaviour.
In Kalgachia, this bold escalation in Shirerithian swagger was seen as a regression to the untrammeled rapacity of the previous Froyalanish administration; differing only in the fact that Shireroth's ruling Kalirion dynasty, unlike the Froyalanish whom they had overthrown, went about its business with an honest and unadorned thuggery without recourse to a duplicitous veil of dumb amiability that had characterised the high tide mark of Froyalanish dominion. Nonetheless in 161 AL Kalgachia's ruling Council of Perfecti, seeing in Nova England a nation of kindred spirit whose existence was greatly endangered, decided to intervene.
This intervention - an offer of anti-gravtank missiles and high-end air defence systems to the Nova English Armed Forces to counter an expected Shirerithian attack - instantly drew the ire of the Shirerithian government which accused Kalgachia of using Nova England as an intermediary to provide the weapons to Jingdao, thereby contradicting its diplomatic obligations to refrain from militarily supporting nations at war with Shireroth. While Kalgachia was quick to contest this assertion and the diplomatic premise on which it was built, the fact that Shireroth's argument - regardless of its merits - was backed by a threat of war against Nova England if the Kalgachi weapons were delivered, compelled the latter two governments to reconfigure their budding mutual aid programme in terms of doctrinal training and civil defence, albeit kicked into a greatly accelerated pace by Shireroth's readiness to address the matter by military means (the postponed weapon delivery was later resumed and completed immediately prior to the War of the Casks, when a Shirerithian invasion of Nova England was evidently imminent regardless of Kalgachi restraint). These intial contacts eventually blossomed into a full trade relationship, underpinned by the mutual foundation of the Kalgachi and Nova English currencies upon the gold standard. This relationship was nonetheless a logistically challenging one, being entirely reliant upon Kalgachia's fleet of Jingdaoese-purchased transport aircraft operating at the limit of their range over an active war zone under the close scrutiny of Shirerithian warplanes, having to displace so much cargo in favour of fuel that most if not all Kalgachi imports by this route ran at a net financial loss. These losses were stoically absorbed by the Directorate of Labour and Economic Planning for the sake of maintaining commercial confidence in its Nova English intermediary body, the Octavian Import-Export Corporation, as well as fulfilling the political brief imposed directly from the Council of Perfecti to maintain a trade link independent of Shirerithian influence regardless of the cost.
The 'Emancipation' of the Froyalanish
In 161 AL, as Kalgachia sought to distance itself from the Shrierithian Imperium whose overseas excesses were considered more psychotically rabid with each passing year, the Council of Perfecti returned once more to the Froyalanish Question - resolving that Kalgachia's resident population of captive labourers were sufficiently integrated with Kalgachi society that they could be released from bondage and granted Kalgachi citizenship, such that the end of their status as a tradeable commodity would render moribund the majority of Kalgachia's trade links with Shireroth and perhaps be a first step in rehabilitating Kalgachia's name in the eyes of the Froyalaners' progenitors in Stormark. Some resistance to the plan was forthcoming from the Prefects, who pointed out that the memetic virulence of the Froyalaners' original Vanic religion and their tendency to outbreed and displace other races had not gone away and represented an existential hazard of the first order. The release of the Froyalanish was, therefore, accompanied by an absolute prohibition on the practice of the Vanic religion (for which one could be summarily executed by any Kalgachi citizen) and a continuation of the programme whereby all Froyalaners within Kalgachi borders were sterilised upon arrival. This ironically rendered Kalgachia's Froyalanish population into a distinct subculture of freewheeling libertines, severed as they were from all obligation to revere ancestors or create descendants. A desire to live comfortably, make the most of one's time in the world and be at peace with one's fellows, not unlike that found among the Bergburgers, prevailed among this newly-freed segment of society whose induction into the Kalgachi citizenry caused the country's official population to jump by two million, requiring the hurried minting of fresh Kalgarrand to pay their wages and avert a deflationary crash. Although Froyalaners remained ineligible to serve as church partisans, sufficient numbers of other ethnicities were freed up from menial, long-hours occupations by wage-earning Froyalanish replacements that the amount of people undergoing partisan training in their free time swelled by some 500,000.
Lapivril and Kasterburg
In 166 AL Kalgachia's immense programme of fortress construction was nearing its conclusion, ensuring that no part of the country was more than 75 kilometres away from a heavily equipped battery of assorted guns, hypersonic and surface-to-air missiles. Simultaneously the full weight of the Great Enterpise of Keltia was being brought to bear against Nova England among other escalations in that continent's polar region, offering the world yet another ripple in the interminable flexion of Shirerithian military muscle. In Kalgachia the events inspired renewed doubts in the ability of even its newly-fortified military to repel such an onslaught, given the seemingly psychotic determination of Shireroth's rogue steward to pursue his military ambitions without regard to the cost and the apparently helpless inability of moderates within Shireroth to restrain him. Such concerns were tempered only by a general relief that Shireroth's adventures in faraway Keltia had bought Kalgachia added time to enhance its own defences before the Shirerithian hordes were, inevitably as Kalgachi security organs felt, directed against them. After the much-delayed and over-budgeted completion of the KDF fortress network, however, there was little appetite within the Council of Perfecti to divert any more of Kalgachia's assets into the front end of national defence, especially during the marginal stagnation in Kalgachia's standard of living caused by the war in Nova England and its effect on imports. Instead the Council looked to the Troglodyti, whose initiates within Kalgachi academia had recently embarked upon a holistic initiative intended to have positive implications for national defence, socio-economic strength and ultimately spiritual salvation. Named Project Newrad, it envisaged the creation of a new national redoubt located deep underground to restore the safety of sovereign tenure previously conferred by Kalgachia's mountain topography, but effectively eliminated by the spectre of mass-produced gravimetric transport backed by full-spectrum aerial and space surveillance. On a spiritual level it was also hoped that the refined troglodyte lifestyle of the new territory's inhabitants would resonate with the spirits of their ancestors' chthonic Benefactors and bring Kalgachia as a whole into a deeper state of grace with the Garden Ketheric. Heavily reliant upon geothermal power and nuclear transmutation for its intended function as a closed system, the territory was codified into existence as the Lieutenancy of Lapivril and granted the full resources of the Kalgachi state - inspiring some irritation within the Directorate of Public Works, whose masses of overworked navvies and foremen had anticipated a period of rest in which they could finally spend the considerable pay and bonuses they had accrued during the preceding decade of fortress-building. Ultimately many of them were in fact able to so do, including the Directorate's entire contingent of ageing Froyalanish navvies, on account of the Troglodyti's strict conditions for entry into Lapivril which was restricted to mixed Kalgachi and Nezeni ethnicities alone.
Meanwhile in 167 AL, to Kalgachia's southwest, a new sovereign state emerged in the old Minarborian territory previously known as Poroly. The Kasterburg Republic, founded by exiles from Shirerithian Batavia, was quick to assert its neutral credentials by denouncing both Shireroth and Kalgachia; the former for mistreating Kasterburg's emissaries and violating its territory, and the latter for harbouring a 'political inspired pseudo-religion' and being tardy in opening diplomatic channels, which were belatedly established through a formation of KDF cossacks who happened to be in the area. Ultimately, however, Kasterburg's attitude appeared refreshingly non-ideological and it began to engage cordially with both its neighbours, accepting a donation of Kalgachi anti-tank guns for the nominal purpose of resisting the marauding Tee-als which had beset its early development, although the utility of the weapons in deterring further uninvited territorial incursions by Shireroth was left conspicuously un-denied. Kalgachia in addition launched Operation Beefsteak, a military anti-bandit sweep along the ungoverned limitrophes of the Kasterburg border to assist in Tee-al rollback and disperse groups of itinerant raiders who had inevitably become attracted to the new republic's concentration of wealth.
Due in part to this assistance, Kasterburg was able to expand its territory in 168 AL - although this did have the effect of closing the ungoverned territory between the Lywall Protectorate and Shirerithian Batavia (known as the Poroly Gap after the area's Ashkenatzi-Minarborian name), which had been Kalgachia's only open trade route with nations outside the Benacian continent. Under pressure from the Oktavyan Import-Export Corporation, whose business had already been crippled by the war scare in Nova England, Kalgachi diplomats descended on Kasterburg to negotiate right of passage for Kalgachia's long-range cargo aircraft. In 169 AL The result of these negotiations, in the form of the Sterklucht Agreement on Airspace Security, succeeded in re-opening Kasterburg's airspace to Kalgachi flights in exchange for an annual fee and the delivery of a hundred Kalgachi surface-to-air missile systems to Kasterburg's nascent military, which had hitherto lacked any air defence capability.
The speed with which Kalgachia defied its own reputation as a paranoid hermit state and pumped military aid into a new, unknown and occasionally critical neighbour was surprising to casual observers who were taken aback by the negotiating skill required - the tendency of the Kalgachi diplomatic corps toward flippantly informal discourse had only recently caused a stir at a summit on geopolitical non-alignment in Caputia where the Kalgachi delegation had notoriously torpedoed the summit's central mission statement and cast the Raspurid representatives, among others, into a state of bewilderment. To the straight-talking Batavian elite of Kasterburg, however, Kalgachi directness was a refreshing break from the pomp, pageantry and nebulous affectations seen elsewhere on the Micran diplomatic stage. This allowed Kalgachia to secure vital understandings with Kasterburg while Shireroth's efforts to pre-empt them with its own more grandiose overtures became bogged down in logistical minutiae.